(A) An application for a hearing on dissolution may be filed with the probate court of the county that created the district at any time not prohibited by this section and shall meet the requirements of this section.
(B) The application shall:
(1) Bear the signatures of at least twenty-five per cent of the number of voters in the district who voted in the preceding gubernatorial election;
(2) Bear the name, address, and telephone number of at least one voter registered in the district to be designated the applicant of record. Each applicant of record and the board of park commissioners shall be named parties to the proceedings.
(3) Be accompanied by a complete statement of the issues to be heard, signed by applicant of record. Failure to list completely the issues to be heard may, in the discretion of the court, be grounds for dismissal of the application.
(C) Each page of the application:
(1) Being circulated for signatures shall clearly state the purpose for which it is being circulated and at least one reason supporting that purpose. Each page lacking either statement shall be declared invalid.
(2) Shall be circulated by and signed in the presence of a voter registered in the district and bear a certification signed by him that this requirement has been met. Failure to certify or a false certification shall invalidate the page.
(D) Each signatory shall sign his name as recorded by the board of elections together with his current address and the date. Failure to comply with this division shall invalidate the signature.
(E) The original of the application and statement of issues shall be filed with the court and, concurrently, a copy of each shall be served on the board of park commissioners. Failure to timely serve these documents on the board are [is] grounds for denial of the application.
(F) Upon receipt of the application, the court shall determine its validity in terms of the requirements of divisions (B) to (E) of this section, and may on its own assess the application for validity of the signatures or forward it to the county board of elections for that assessment. Immediately upon determining the state of the application's validity, the court shall send written notice of its findings to each party. If the application is valid, the court shall forthwith set a date for hearing, not less than twenty days nor more than forty days from the date of its findings, and include the date in its notice to each party. Notice of the hearing shall be published in at least one daily newspaper of general circulation within the district for not less than five consecutive days, the period to end no less than ten days before the hearing. Failure to meet the requirement of notice to any party shall not invalidate the proceedings but shall postpone the time of hearing. A corrected notice shall be sent to each party with a new date of hearing set not less than twenty days nor more than forty days from the date of corrected notice, unless each party and the court agree to an earlier date. If the application is found to be invalid, the court shall send written notice to each party that the application is denied and has been impounded by the court. The court shall not receive any further application for hearing on dissolution for two years from the date of original filing.
On motion, any applicant may be named as a party at the discretion of the court. Any party may be heard on his own or through counsel. On motion by any party made at least five days before the hearing, evidence based on the statement of issues filed with the application shall be heard in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure. At the hearing, evidence may be heard at the discretion of the court. Argument for and against the dissolution shall be heard by the court, and may be limited at its discretion. A verbatim record of the hearing shall be taken. Upon completion of the hearing, the court shall issue its findings together with its reasons therefor to all parties. No more than thirty days shall pass between the adjournment of the hearing and the issuing of the findings. If the court finds that dissolution is conducive to the public welfare, no other park district shall be created within the same jurisdiction or part of it pursuant to sections 1545.01 to 1545.04 or 1545.15 of the Revised Code for four years from the date of finding. If the court finds that dissolution is not conducive to the public welfare, it shall find against it. Upon a finding against dissolution, the court shall impound the application, and advise each party that no further application for hearing on dissolution shall be received for four years from the date of finding.
(G) A park district that includes territory annexed under section 1545.15 of the Revised Code shall only be dissolved by order of the probate court that created the district on compliance with this division and divisions (A) to (F) of this section. Pages of the application bearing signatures of registered voters of each annexed territory shall be filed for assessment of their validity with the probate court of the county in which the territory is located. The number of signatures needed to establish validity shall be a majority of the number of voters residing within the annexed territory who voted in the preceding gubernatorial election. Upon determination of its assessment, and in no case more than fifteen days after filing, the probate court of the county in which the annexed territory is located shall forward the pages of the application together with its findings to the probate court that created the district. The probate court that created the district shall incorporate these findings with its assessment of the application filed with it in accordance with division (F) of this section in reaching its determination of the entire application's validity and proceed in accordance with applicable provisions of division (F) of this section.
Effective Date: 09-06-1979